"Big Hermann"

Prenzlauer Berg Water Tower

Today the water tower and the slim tubular tower are the oldest surviving evidence of Berlin central water supply. From 1856 water from the river Spree was pumped up here to the hill and stored in an open tank, in order to generate enough pressure to supply the pipes of boroughs in the Spree valley. The preserved tubular tower served as indicator instrument and pressure control valve.

The 1856 tubular tower and the open tank at the city gates
The 1856 tubular tower and the open tank at the city gates

With the growth of the city, the tank capacity grew insufficient. In 1877 a new pump station was built to pump water up into the water tower, also built in the same years, and raised again by 5 meter thirty years later. Some parts of the installation were shut down during World War One, and in 1952 the water tower was completely withdrawn from the network.

A postcard from around 1910 showing the 1877 water tower before its expansion
A postcard from around 1910 showing the 1877 water tower before its expansion

The machine workers’ apartments in the water tower are still inhabited and are very popular residential addresses. The water tower is now the symbol of Prenzlauer Berg.

Turn left into the street on the long side of the square, Kolmarer Straße. Proceed on the left side of the street until you reach a low, yellow brick building. Enter the gate next to it and access the court of the Sebastian Haffner Centre for Culture and Education, the headquarters of Pankow museum.